Op-Ed by PETER MAURER
Resolutions are like revolutions – they start out sounding like good ideas, and then quickly fall apart, leaving a bunch of sad and dejected people in their wake.
I must admit that the simple idea of changing something about your life at the beginning of a new year has
Change is hard, a lot like centrifugal and centripetal forces in nature. The faster the object is moving, the harder it is for it to turn a corner. Cyclists know this. Motorcyclists know this. In fact, all of us, except a certain subset of 16- year-old drivers behind the wheel of daddy’s 2018 Dodge Charger, know this.
Most of us are creatures of habit, and nothing is more difficult than breaking a habit, especially bad habits. Smoking, drinking, drugs, gambling, junk food, a sedentary lifestyle, laziness, shopping, and other things are the most-often promised resolutions… and also the most-often broken.
We human beings are evolutionarily hard-wired to be efficient, to take the shortest path possible. It frees up time for other things,
But many of us have taken that approach to an extreme, despite the consequences to our health, relationships, and finances. The lure of the easy path is too tempting, and once that bad habit is established, it takes an enormous commitment to change. And so, every December 31st, at the stroke of midnight, people cheer, dance, make a toast to the New Year, sing Auld Lang Syne, kiss their partners along with total strangers, and make their resolutions. They’ll vow that this year is the year that they finally lose that 20 pounds, eat healthily, quit smoking, exercise, go to the gym, quit swearing, chewing their fingernails, go back to school, and thousands of other things that only they know they shouldn’t do.
And most of those people have honorable intentions, too.
Gym memberships skyrocket in January, as does the attendance. Smoking cessation programs, and AA meetings
But human nature is a powerful force, not unlike gravity, and like gravity, most things eventually get pulled back to Earth.
Only the most enormous amounts of energy result in something overcoming gravity, such as rockets and astronauts. And in a way, you can be that astronaut, the one out of millions who manages to beat the odds and gets launched into orbit with the help of all that rocket-fuel-energy. It really comes down to will power, and I find that will power seems to be one of those fundamental parts of personality I talked about earlier, the things that generally don’t change over a lifetime.
Either you have it or you don’t, whether by nature or nurture, or both. But don’t let me discourage you. You keep trying and trying, and
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